Monday, May 12, 2014

A Day in the Gardens

I could write about our weather here in Colorado that I hear from Texas relatives made national news. Give me a break. We get May snow nearly every year. We don't like it, but hey we live a mile high. Once of worst blizzards of recent times was May 27. Any Colorado gardener knows the rule: Plant after Mother's Day. We did have freezing temperatures last night, so we covered the peonies and the dwarf cherry. And it is supposed to get colder tonight then begin to warm up.

Saturday was a grand day. For years Heather and her BFF from high school always go to the annual plant sale at the Denver Botanical Gardens, usually on Friday. I was never invited because it was their thing; in reality I worked and couldn't take the day off. So now that I am retired I begged. Can I please come with you? Because this is the busy season for Heather, she couldn't take a day off either, so I joined the girls Saturday.

It had been years since I last walked the gardens and wow have there been changes made. We spent most of our time choosing plants, but did walk throughout the Japanese Gardens. Join me for a bit of a walk on a sunny Colorado Saturday.

Approaching the gardens. 

At the center of the gardens, summer concerts are held along with other events in the center of the gardens. 

Heather (right) and Carrie discuss plant selection. These are plants grown at the gardens. They were pretty picked over since the sale began on Friday.

Alums are one of my favorites.

A pretty little shade garden.

Have you noticed that with all of the interest on Pinterest in succulents, that they are very hard to find if you don't to the garden center early in the season? Such was the case at the sale. I had hopped to get a good selection of succulents, but they had few. This is one of the many troughs that the volunteers had planted up. This one was sold; they went in a hurry.

The main water feature is huge. The water lilies have yet to bloom.

My interest in Japanese gardening is growing. Since we have a sizable pagoda that we purchased last year off of, I am interested in creating a Japanese space by the new water feature. 

We didn't make it into the tea house. Next time.

I chuckled to myself when I saw the Roman columns at Cheeseman Park next to the gardens. Were the gods whispering to me?

While this garden may look a bit like a week patch, it reflects what the native prairie must have looked like to the pioneers who first came West. It is a peaceful and serene spot to sit and reflect.

Still in the Japanese garden, this flowering crab makes a statement contextually set with other trees and Japanese architecture. 

I wanted to linger in the gardens longer, but we were getting tired and had a couple of other stops to make.

Love this corner outside the gardens. The sale was very well organized, with the planners taking into consideration every visitor's needs. For example they had a plant valet service. Target shopping carts were provided for shoppers to push around to haul their plants. A nice touch. Better than pulling a Red Flyer wagon. Then once outside the gates, we left our cart with the valet service and then walked the 3 blocks back to the car. We drove back to the gardens, parked curb side just long enough to load up the plants and we were on our way. 

We had to admire the houses along the walk back to the car. This grand mansion belongs the gardens, so I stepped inside the open gate to photograph it.

I love, love, love this house. This is a side view of the stately green stucco mansion. I snuck the camera between the bars of the wrought iron fence to get a good shot.

Gorgeous. These houses are in the old part of town, the Cheeseman park area. Built at the turn of the 20th century, many of them fell into disrepair, but 30 or 40 years ago, when they were a real bargain, the neighborhood attracted new buyers and now it reflects the wealth of Denver elites. One Christmas Heather had the opportunity to light one of the house for Christmas. (Her company during the off season also does commercial Christmas lighting.)

We parked across the street from this grand house. Wonder who lives there? What do they do for a living?

On a smaller scale, here is Heather's little garden. She has been working on it for ten years and it is amazing for a small space garden.

Here is her waterfall that she built all by herself. At the end of the fall, she has a very small pool with gold fish.

I came home with the back of the little SUV full of plants, ashamed to admit how much I spent. The plants were pricey, but the money went to a good cause. I did buy a winter hardy lotus. It will be the center piece of the water garden. The head gardener will have to wear his fishing chest waders to put it in place. Right now it looks pretty pathetic. 

I hope to return to the Denver Botanical Gardens sometime over the summer. We only saw less then half of it. I hope you enjoyed the tour.

Thanks for stopping by. 


  1. What a lovely place to visit - all sorts of things for you to see and wonder over. It is pretty tiring wandering round these places though - I bet you were glad to put your feet up when you got home. I think the Japanese garden was beautiful . Those large houses were magnificent but they don't do it for me - imagine all the housework involved!

  2. Yes indeed I enjoyed the tour! Looks like a beautiful day. Some great pictures.

  3. this was all absolutely gorgeous!

    I was surprised at your "after Mother's Day" rule...i'm in Western PA and to be safe it is usually after Memorial Day. This drives me crazy on days like today when it is over 90 degrees already but we go from one extreme to another and could easily have heavy frosts at the end of the month.

    I think the Japanese garden with the pool area is my favorite but I enjoyed each and every photo :)

  4. Lovely gardens. Suppose you will be busy planting and seeing to your purchases now. Have fun!

  5. Simply a gorgeous place to visit. Funny it reminds me Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver, especially the houses nearby.


  6. I did enjoy the tour, Lynn! I loved the flowering crabapple tree, the water gardens, and the native prairie section. All were just gorgeous! What are the orange and yellow flowers in the last pic of the Botanical Gardens?

    Your daughter's garden is lovely, Ann. She certainly knows her stuff! Thanks for taking us along on the tour and I hope you have a great weekend. :)

    Big Hugs,